In Spite Of
HOLLAND PROJECT GALLERY Laura J. Bennett, Chris Lanier, Michelle Lassaline, Edw Martinez, Evie Woltil Richner, Tamara Valdez + Becca Jane Rubinfeld
SEPT. 9-27, 2013 opening FRI. SEPT. 13, 6-8PM performance by MICHELLE LASSALINE presentation by CHRIS LANIER
two-part exhibition of UNCONSCIOUS FAITH & EVERYDAY BELIEFS curated by SARAH LILLEGARD
THE TAHOE GALLERY AT SIERRA NEVADA COLLEGE Charly Bloomquist, Kaitlin Bryson, Dane Haman, Joshua Chapman, Kelsey Page, Leigh Wells + Omar Alan Pierce
SEPT. 13- OCT. 25, 2013 opening THUR. SEPT. 26, 5-7PM performance by KAITLIN BRYSON lecture by JENNIFER JOY JAMESON
In Spite Of
In the day to day there are small and large moments of faith. There are the grand martyr leaps and the quiet finger-crossed rituals. Personal myth, folklore, superstition and religion gets distilled down to these everyday beliefs, faith of the seemly unconscious. That faith is unquestioned until it changes: the car doesn’t start, you lose your breath. But until that moment arrives, what we believe is our means of defining the world and as Neil Gaiman writes “populating the darkness”. “In Spite Of” is an exploration of those inadvertent routines of belief. From the stubborn faith in the artmaking process to the unraveling of plans so quietly made, the work goes beyond simply what a person believes. It moves truth around. Like an atom, faith becomes the primary stepping stone for every instance of truth or meaning. It’s the lens we view our lives through. In a species that strives so hard to find connections, the underlying thread may just be a Mulder cry of “I want to believe”. SARAH LILLEGARD curator
“People believe (...) It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.” NEIL GAIMAN :: American Gods
LAURA J. BENNETT
BOWMAN ACRE and the GHOST of MR. BUTTERWORTH A few years ago my husband and I bought an acre of land at the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. A fellow named Lester Hammond built the stone house on the property in the early 1940’s. He made a handful of these unique “rock houses” in the Bowman Area, and people often stop to look at them. A couple named Mr. and Mrs. Butterworth lived here for quite some time. They wore the same overalls and straw hats and worked on the land together. Folks remember them as a kindly sweet couple that loved their home. Mr. B became ill and passed away. Mrs. B buried his ashes under a maple tree on the property. When she finally sold the house and was preparing to move, she couldn’t locate the tin of ashes. She spent a good long while trying to find Mr. B, but never did. Mrs. B has since passed on. Sometimes I find little things, witness strange light and see quite amazing colors. I wonder if the love of the Butterworth’s lives here in the land, and that is what I am seeing. The images submitted have been taken in the last year. I shoot all types of film with a Pentax Asahi 67, Brownie Hawkeye, a Holga and an old 8x10 Gundlach.
Opening :: silver gelatin :: The Holland Project Gallery
GROUNDS for INVESTIGATION from the larger body of work: DOMESTIC DEBRIS “Grounds for Investigation” is produced digitally. These are optically gathered images of the residue in my coffee cups. This is some of the domestic debris from my life. The original digital camera files where enhanced and archivally printed on fine art papers. Except for scale and slight color and contrast enhancement, these images definitely represent the original objects with a fair amount of veracity. For me they are part of a fortune telling Venn diagram that includes J. K. Rowling’s Teacup Readings of the Grim, and Rorschach inkblots. They function to remind me more of things I need to think about, rather than tell me what to do. These particular images where selected because their very presence triggered synapses that bring to my mind something very other than themselves. It is the shape and/or color of the residue that takes me somewhere else. Besides earning money as a photographer, Charly has been gainfully employed as a librarian, security guard, dishwasher, brick carrier, research assistant, substitute teacher, retail chain district manager, a photographic educator, and a stringer for a local newspaper. He has also worked in art galleries, custom photo labs and one-hour labs, on Christmas tree farms, in a submarine sandwich shop, and a foundry, as well as retail photographic sales. However, he has sold neither vacuum cleaners nor encyclopedias door to door, though he sometimes dreams of it in a nightmarish kind of way.
Grounds for Investigation 0515 :: inkjet print :: The Tahoe Gallery
The performance and piece, “To Become One of the Truly Dead”, is a death ritual that I have created in order to provide these lifeless items with a resting place – a place where their earthly bodies can decompose out in the open so their spirits may be freed from this life. Through the process of decay the contents of the body are slowly released and change form. Spiritually, this allows the soul a slow and successful transition into the next life, and physically the decaying matter accumulates new growth and bacteria that in turn break the objects down. In our culture we are more accustomed to the idea of preservation, and instead fear the process of decay. Rather than looking at the latter with reverence, we treat it with disgust. It is my belief that decomposition exemplifies the true essence of life and the intention with “To Become One of the Truly Dead” is to address this. Throughout the duration of the show the contents of this piece will change dramatically demonstrating the process of putrefaction and ephemerality. The many break down into one The one is the many. Death be not strange.
To Become One of the Truly Dead :: mixed media :: The Tahoe Gallery
A FIELD GUIDE to the ALIENS of STAR TREK copies available at msvalerieparkdistro.com
The author recognizes that there can be as much magic in the physical artifact of a book as the words contained within. Society treats books like they are a blank wall to hang art upon, as if the pages were nothing more than a container for the story. The author argues that a book, thoughtfully constructed so that it delivers an authentic experience, can transform the message instead of just delivering it. Nobody would care about this if they read it on a Kindle. Lynda Barry has a word to describe her comics: autobifictionalography. This is a wonderful word. Even though the author was 32 when he wrote these zines, and they do not describe his childhood, everything within them is still true ZACHARY AUBURN
A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek :: zine :: The Tahoe Gallery
DANE HAMAN After 25 years of marriage, my mom pulled the rug out from under our feet. No one saw it coming. The love and togetherness of my parents was something I foolishly never questioned. The divorce took over a year to fully happen. Iâ€™m lucky to have been living in another city at the time, in the creative haze of art school. My brother wasnâ€™t so lucky he came home to strange messages on the answering machine, and a living room of missing furniture. I volunteered to take 2 huge boxes of family photos, 35mm slides, and relationship ephemera when my dad finally cleaned out the basement. A few years passed, and soon I was cleaning out my own basement. I kept a lot of the photographs, and the softball my dad proposed on using a ballpoint pen. In the trash went the love letters, cake topper, guestbook, and wedding album. This is the only photograph I made of that unpleasant editing process.
Jeff and Donna 1980-2006 :: digital print :: The Tahoe Gallery
CHRIS LANIER “Sailor Worm” is the latest in a series of video loops of appropriated footage with audio narration that recontextualizes the images, telling stories that are quite different from the original scenes. The loops cycle continuously, and the narration is written to loop back on itself as well, so that the viewer may find it difficult at first to discern where the story begins and ends. The videos play with the idea of “eternity,” and the way film can fix a fleeting moment or image so that it attains a feeling of permanence. In the narration, the characters in the videos are stranded or hiding out in some ceaseless experience or space. Some are resigned to their fate, others push against it.
Sailor Worm :: found footage + audio :: The Holland Project Gallery
When the sun set I fell asleep. When it was gone, the forest filled up with fears and stopped welcoming me, hiding my trail and making me cold. When the sun rose, I woke up, untired and warm and safe. It got so hot and high, pushing me onward and moving my shadow to let me know how much longer I would wait until it softened for a very long descent back into the ground or the ocean or the part of old maps that shows sea monsters and cliffs off the edge of the world. I know the earth goes around the sun, rotating on an axis and orbiting. But I also know that while I moved so slowly, walking on such old ground and tall mountains, the sun surely moved in its subtle and tilted arc around that giant land.
When the Sun Was Gone, the Forest Filled Up With Fears watercolor, ink + gouache :: The Holland Project Gallery
The direction of my current work is selfreferential and reflects many varied life, work, travel, and visual experiences, mostly good- a few bad. Most of my objects have a story to tell and always have a figurative reference, melding the past (sometimes the primordial or archaic) with current conditions, references, and connections. Kirk Robertson, wrote upon the occasion of my exhibition at the Oak Park Art Center, “The works are mélange of cross cultural references. Metaphorical allusion to Japanese tomb sculptures, the Egyptian Sphinx, ancient Olmec heads, Guatemalan textiles, and European cairn sculptures figure prominently, as do the lives and martyrdom of selected dead saints, virgin martyrs and holy saints. Collectively, they are insightful, decidedly humorous, slightly irreverent conflations of, and commentary on, the uses of iconography in art.” II. Years ago, I asked, Dr. Wiley Felts, a famed art teacher and my zen master about my concerns regarding my casual craftsmanship and the archival qualities of my art. He told me not to worry about it, because although folks would probably love my art, they would not bother to buy it. And instead of archival anxiety I should be more concerned about where I would manage to store all that stuff. He was correct in one way. I have been making art for more than forty five years and no one really gives a shit. With one important exception….ME. I care! I still really enjoy what I am doing and am having lots of fun. Isn’t that the way is supposed to be? And, I have mitigated the storage problem by just building more and more sheds at the back of my property.
raku stoneware :: similar pieces at The Holland Project Gallery
I like to take long walks in the desert. It is in the solitude of that austere landscape that I find myself most open to the themes of my work. It is there where I often cross paths with the fragments of another life. And it is there that the bones have been lying, peroxiding with the power of the sun. The materials in my work chose me. It is not just my fascination with decay and preservation, but also that very personal moment when I feel the desert offers me gifts. And it is these gifts that serve as my inspiration. These bones are a recurring theme in my artwork. I combine media and paint to create an otherworldly landscape. While being a landscape, it is also a statement, a precise display. The painting interacts with the viewer, swaying as one walks by or leans in for a closer view, stirring the bones with one’s breath. And with that breath, the atmosphere mutates into another form. The wonders are born of this feathery, velvety ethereal earth. From the cocoon materializes the butterfly. Our own animal physique similarly mutates from some ancestral past and similarly returns to it as we decay. What comes to mind when we think about a beginning? Then end? Embarking with nature, I then invoke culture and mythology. The flesh decays quickly yet we invent permanent symbols for our code, our soul. Could this be what carries on? All cultures explore this deeper meaning. Our humanity manifests itself in numerous other ways. Animals often depict the spirits and journeys of the human world. Unlike the majority of us, butterflies only live between two to four weeks. However, it’s similar and relevant – our connectivity – our journey – our spiritualism. In that short life it focuses all of its energy onto one thing – survival, process, meaning, and path. In this painting I have evoked these ancient traditions of the celebration of the butterfly and the soul. And upon our l east breath, our form morphs into another and our essence will carry on.
The Mythology of the Lepidoptera and the Soul mixed media :: The Tahoe Gallery
OMAR ALAN PIERCE
“AND IN LISTENING TO YOUR ABSENCE, I HAVEN’T LEARNED A THING.” from TAUREAN NATURE by FREDDY RUPPERT I don’t believe in much beyond my gut instincts, but I believe in Her. In Her I found a reason to question everything. When we kissed for the first time I almost collapsed, leaving my center of gravity biased forever. It was magnetic and chemical as much as it was, what I believe to be, Holy. In Her I found faith, and in faith I found a message. This work is a radio transmission traveling through space with no promise of ever being heard. So still I’m bound to Her, against my will and in spite of myself.
Praise Your Name 8”x10” polaroid spectra, mixed. :: The Tahoe Gallery
EVIE WOLTIL RICHNER
In this work, I am exploring personal loss and memorializing those who are no longer living. Each of these pieces is a burial, but also a memorial. Working from photographs of deceased relatives, I am physically burying them in a shroud of drawn feathers. Through burial, we acknowledge loss. The person is removed from our lives. My Grammy, as I always called her, moved in with us when I was in elementary school. She had Alzheimer’s disease and we took care of her. Over time, I could see her memory disappearing. She would forget who people were and repeat the same stories and phrases over and over. She lives now only in my memory and in the memories of those who knew her, but my memories are wispy, like bits of dreams a few hours after you’ve had them. Some of the memories are barely there. I can see only a sliver of them. Afraid of the erosion of my own memory, my creations are also an act of remembrance – remembering my Grammy as she was when she lived with us, and also reconstructing who she might have been before I knew her. Through the ritual of drawing over images of her, I return to thoughts of her again and again. When finished, the pieces become a signifier, like a gravestone, of a person who once was, and just as gravestones serve to connect us with a loved one after they’ve passed, these pieces are a physical connection I have to her. The feathers specifically reference the cross-cultural symbolism of the bird as a connection between heaven and earth.
Burial #4 :: ink on digital print :: The Holland Project Gallery
BECCA JANE RUBINFELD
As an artist I find satisfaction in the constellationlike way that meaning is created, using a hybrid approach and through combinations of sculpture, installation, performance, photography, drawing, video and non-art based practices. The work often explores ideas of play, ritual, community, proximity and romance. I try to occupy the boundaries between the secret knowledge of characters and the distinctive qualities of real individuals and communities. My work often blurs divisions between knowledge and intuition, between fantasies and reality. I love the natural traverse between art being fake and real, how the untruthful image reveals to us a new understanding of reality. The show “In Spite Of” has provided the opportunity for me to examine the role of faith in art making, striking a deep chord within both my process as an artist and in my life. Faith gets right to the core of the human experience in the way that we all make meaning of the unexplainable or find a way to accept the mystery. Like life, making work requires constant conceptual faith: to think, trust, conjure, understand, to place confidence in seeing with one’s own eyes, to believe that images and objects can hold some kind of truthfulness. My work included in the show “In Spite Of” consist of a photograph of one of my “Tour Guide” characters in sequence with a black pipe sculpture. These objects are not meant to be “interpreted” as much they are meant to suggest a state of mind. I use the photograph as a kind of key to the installation, acting as a connection point between the viewer’s body and the sculpture.
Unnamed :: sculptural installation :: The Holland Project Gallery
I created the rose bundles almost a year ago come November. Initially, I created them as an endearing intention and offering for the Virgen de Guadalupe. Re-telling an old tradition of rose offerings to the Virgen, but interplaying the roses with the ritual of smudging like many American Indians have shared with white sage. Since then, the bundles have grown with more than ornamentals and now an inclusion of native wildflowers from Texas and harvests in traveling across Texas and neighboring states. The act of bundling is meditative and intentional. These tools express a faith in beauty and the power of your own intention. Beauty in the process and abundance in the most modest of flowers. Arranging, bundling, binding--call it what you will. The process of arranging and bundling flowers has led me to bundle meaningful objects to either move on out of my life or to commemorate a point in my life. These bundles are objects of courage. Heroics are often about putting their life on the line. Ordinary everyday courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. Some of my most favorite flowers wrapped around a white slip I’ve worn every night for the past 2 years. Carnations arranged by hand to create a garland longer than 6 ft with mesquite pods from the hill country in Central Texas. It’s all about process for me and beauty in the mundane and the magic. I feel like a master at times and at other times, I feel like I’m just skimming the surface. These objects are expressive and distinct displays of cultural heritage and all are inspired by global folkways.
Rose Bundles :: mixed :: The Holland Project Gallery
DECEPTION Through my work, I engage in a dialogue with perception and cognition, asking what we can and canâ€™t know about ourselves and others, the physical world, and the nature of reality. Theoretical physics, religion, history, and human psychology are all inspirations in their attempts to address these issues. Ambiguity and mystery are important components of my work. I construct mixed media collage-drawings often starting with found images or elements from previous work, stripping them of their original context through editing, cutting and combining. Adding drawn line work or painted geometric shapes and colors increases the spatial and narrative ambiguity in my compositions. The resulting hybrids embody the shifting, ungraspable nature of reality by combining dissimilar or contrasting qualities: organic/geometric, hard/soft, and dimensional/linear. Attempts to reconcile or interpret them reveal the mechanisms by which we try to understand and define what we see and experience. I also make a more spontaneous body of sculptural works using readily available materials such as wood, fabric, felt, hardware, and paint. While my collages often read as renderings of invented three-dimensional objects or spaces, in my sculptural constructions I feel as if Iâ€™m translating the formal qualities and sensibilities of my two-dimensional work into another dimension. Whether it originates from personal narrative or in formal process, I approach my work as an open-ended investigation of truth, reality and the unknowable.
Deception (11-10-01) collage, mixed media on paper :: The Tahoe Gallery
the HOLLAND PROJECT GALLERY 140 Vesta St. Reno, NV 89502 Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri 3pm-6pm www.hollandreno.org The Holland Project Gallery is the arts arm of The Holland Project, an all-ages non-profit that provides art, music and culture to the youth of the Truckee Meadows community. Located in the heart of Reno, the Holland Project Gallery has exhibited works from local to international artists.
SIERRA NEVADA COLLEGE Tahoe Gallery, Prim Library, 3rd Floor 999 Tahoe Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451 Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri 9am-5pm www.sierranevada.edu/art Sierra Nevada College is a small liberal arts college located in the Lake Tahoe region that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to visual practices. Utilizing its unique location, open studios, small class size, the college has developed a distinct academic arts community.
cover image: GARDEN TABLE AT NIGHT by LAURA J. BENNETT design + layout: SARAH LILLEGARD September 2013 :: digital version ::